The agony of waiting for a long “silly season” to end is almost over for highly motivated cross country motor racing competitors and enthusiasts who have been waiting eagerly for the opening of the 2017 national Cross Country car and motorcycle/quad championships.
The wheels will be set in motion in Lichtenburg in North West province on March 31 and April 1, and there will be a collective sigh of relief from the cross country community that a wait of around five months is over. The air of anticipation that always follows a new season is given added impetus in that stimulating partnership and team sponsorship announcements are imminent for both the car and motorcycle/quad championships, with fresh combinations and new machinery grist to the mill.
“Lichtenburg is an ideal kick off point for this year’s championships,” said Siegfried Rousseau, CEO of SANORA. “North West province is the spiritual home of cross country racing and Lichtenburg offers competitors and enthusiasts from the greater Gauteng area, the Vaal Triangle and other North West locations an easily accessible venue for action packed national championship motor racing.
“We are looking forward to a wonderful season and as a starting point Lichtenburg ticks all the boxes.”
Lichtenburg was a new event on the national Cross Country calendar last year, and SANORA race director Adri Roets has been working side by side with a supportive farming community to deliver an inspiring 350 to 400 kilometre route to the east of the North West town. A veritable smorgasbord in terms of variety of terrain has left Roets with a bounty of options.
“There have been good rains in the region, the route will be scenic and offers a good blend of tight and technical sections and faster open sections” said Roets. “An added bonus with a historical slant is the route will also take in the diamond digging area of Bakerville.
“There are still a few refinements to be made, but the course is going to be both challenging and enjoyable for competitors and there are plenty of easy to reach vantage points where enthusiasts can enjoy the two and four wheel action.”
Event headquarters, the start/finish and the designated service park will be located at the Lichtenburg Show Grounds on the outskirts of the town. Public access to these areas and spectator points along the route is free of charge, with the local community in charge of catering and refreshment outlets with traditional North West hospitality.
“The weekend offers both a getaway opportunity and the chance to see South Africa’s top Cross Country racing stars in action,” added Rousseau. “The Cross Country fraternity are a hospitable bunch and there is free access to the pits where enthusiasts can chat to Cross Country legends and the stars of the future.”
Cross Country enthusiasts will again be able to follow Cross Country events on the popular RallySafe app for Apple and Android devices. The app is downloaded free of charge from app stores and enables enthusiasts to track the cars on a detailed map, download split times and access results.
images Waldo de Waal